RANGERS could land Accrington Stanley pair Josh Windass and Matt Crooks this month rather than in the summer after the League Two club’s new owner expressed his frustration at the prospect of losing them for next to nothing come the end of the season. Andy Holt, who became Accrington’s majority shareholder at the end of last year, confirmed the Ibrox club have been in talks with striker Windass, the son of former Aberdeen forward Dean, and defensive midfielder Crooks with a view to the pair signing pre-contract arrangements. Accrington do not wish to sell either of the 21 year-olds in January as they push for promotion but, faced with the possibility of losing them in the summer for a reduced cross-border compensation fee, Holt revealed the club may have to rethink their stance and listen to offers this month.

“We are investing in young players so I don’t like the rule that says they can effectively move on for free if they go north of the border,” he told Herald Sport. “If you grow a tree and spend money on it then when it becomes a bigger tree you get more money for it. And that’s how it should be with football players too.

“It’s possible the two boys have had their heads turned but I wouldn’t have a problem with that if that were the case. I wouldn’t want to stand in their way of having a future as they are good lads, as are the rest of the squad. But I don’t think we as a club should lose out as a result after all our efforts in bringing them on.

“Our intention is to go for promotion this season so we want to keep our squad together this month if we can. But obviously these kind of things [the possibility of losing them for a reduced sum] you’ve got to bring into the mix. That’s something we might need to think about. Rangers haven’t been in touch with me personally about signing the players this month although I daresay that could yet change.

“Compensation should be for the players who don’t succeed as well as for the ones you do. It’s to cover the costs of developing young players whether they make it or not. And so it doesn’t seem right to me that after you do that a Scottish club can come and take them for next to nothing. I haven’t given up hope on the two boys signing new deals here but I’ll respect whatever they decide to go. I did well in my life and so I wouldn’t want to stand in the way of others doing the same.”

Holt also expressed his disappointment at the way in which Rangers had communicated with Accrington that they would be opening talks with their players.

“The way Rangers have gone about things has annoyed me a bit,” he added. “Instead of coming through me or our manager John Coleman they just sent an email to our secretary and that’s not the norm. I thought they might have called one of us, or even our chairman Peter Marsden and told us their intentions. In normal circumstances a manager would ring his fellow manager so say what was going on so that was a bit disappointing.”